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Community Water Fluoridation – What the science actually says

Community debate around the merits of community water fluoridation is on-going. Discussions about community water fluoridation are characterised by strongly held opinions on both sides.

There is a need to distinguish fact from fiction and ensure that emerging research is considered in communications and decisions on community water fluoridation. To this end the Ministry has contracted Regional Public Health to establish the National Fluoridation Information Service.

The NFIS consortium is made up of: Regional Public Health, Hutt Valley District Health Board Community Dental Services, Environmental Science and Research, Centre for Public Health Research – Massey University, National Poisons Centre – Otago University.

Over the past few months it has been reported that no-one is looking for or reviewing new research on community water fluoridation.

The core work of NFIS includes monitoring international research on the ongoing usefulness of community water fluoridation and critically reviewing emerging research.  This work is published on our website www.NFIS.org.nz in the form of systematic reviews.

The first report was a ‘Review of Scientific Reviews relating to Water Fluoridation Published between January 2000 and July 2010’.  This report included critical appraisal of the York Report, the Centres for Disease Control Report, the SCHER Report, and the EPA Report. These are all frequently cited by those opposed to community water fluoridation, to seek verification of their interpretation of the findings.  This robust review highlighted the appropriateness of the Ministry’s policy for safely addressing New Zealand’s oral health needs.

The ongoing review of national and international literature has also not revealed any evidence to substantiate the evolving list of adverse health claims made by those opposed to community water fluoridation.  These reviews assess the quality of the studies (quality assessments are found in the appendix of each review). These reviews collectively show that the Ministry’s community water fluoridation policy continues to be appropriate and fit for purpose in the New Zealand setting.

The inclusion and quality criteria, reviews and full list of references, can be found at www.NFIS.org.nz .  We strongly encourage Medical Officers of Health, DHB Board members, Councillors and members of the public with an interest in this area to acquaint themselves with what the science actually says about community water fluoridation.


General media enquiries
Mobile: 021 671 239
Email: news@waikatodhb.health.nz

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